Schools’ Questions – FAQs
What does "Alzar" mean?
Alzar is a Spanish verb which translates to "to rise," "to elevate," "to lift," or "to boost." It is used in many different expressions, such as alzar el vuelo (to take flight), alzar la carpa (to pitch a tent), alzar la vela (to set sail). As a verb, it indicates action, and Alzar School students are full of action.
What makes Alzar School unique?
The Alzar School is built on our "Six Foundations”: leadership training, academics, outdoor adventure, service learning, cultural exchange, and environmental stewardship. It is our unique combination of these six foundations that makes the school stand out. We are a small program that places emphasis on really challenging high school students to become leaders. We don't think that "someday" they can make a difference... we know that they can make a difference today and we want to give them the tools to do so. The Alzar School team has attended, taught at, and met with students and staff at hundreds of schools all over the world. We are confident that there is no other program which will develop global leaders in the same way.
What is the mission of this school?
The official mission of the school is: to educate and facilitate the leadership development of high school students.
That mission statement might be summed up as "The Alzar School is trying to mold the next generation of leaders, the people that will go out there and make significant change in the world."
Why does the Alzar School exist?
The Alzar School is helping to fill the leadership void. The world needs more leaders to tackle the social and environmental issues. Many students think that the point of an education is to prepare them for a job, to make a living, or for more education (college, med school, etc). We believe that students can be expected to do more, that education is meant to prepare you to make the world a better place. We know that our students will be well prepared for university challenges and that they will be able to make a living in a career of their choice. They will be able to achieve these things and have the leadership skills to direct their energy and talents toward improving their local communities and confronting the global issues that they are passionate about.
How long has the school been in existence?
The school has been in existence since 2004, when it was founded by Sean and Kristin Bierle. After being founded, the school offered three-week long expeditions within the United States and in Mexico and Chile prior to launching our semester program. Our first full semester was the Fall 2012 semester.
What sort of partnerships are there between the Alzar School and a student's home school?
Because students join the Alzar School for only one semester of their high school career, one of our top priorities is to develop strong partnerships with students' home schools. We work hard to align our curriculum to ensure academic success upon reintegration. We also have open communication directly between our teachers and a student's home school teachers. Each year, representatives from the Alzar School visit schools all over the country to create and nurture these partnerships. We encourage schools to become a sending school or a member school (see below).
Questions About Being a Sending School
What does it mean to be a sending school?
A "sending school" is a school that has sent or is sending a student to participate in a semester at the Alzar School. Generally, this means that the school has reviewed the curriculum of the Alzar School and has agreed to accept the credits earned at the Alzar School by the student.
What about "lost" tuition?
Many schools realize that by encouraging their students to participate in a semester at the Alzar School they are providing their students a fantastic opportunity. Independent and private schools that charge tuition can handle the tuition in a variety of ways. Most schools will waive the tuition for the semester the student is at the Alzar School. Some schools will ask the student's family to pay a small fee for holding their space at the school. A few schools will require the student to pay full tuition while away. The Alzar School informs students that they must visit with their sending school to see how they will handle the tuition issue.
Does the Alzar School offer financial aid?
The Alzar School is able to offer financial aid based on need. Students and their families must complete the application hosted by the TADS system. Ideally, a sending school will help make this type of situation possible for its students by allowing their financial aid to be "portable," thereby transferring that amount of financial aid to the Alzar School.
Questions About Being a Member School
What does it mean to be a member school?
A member school is a sending school with a deeper commitment level to the Alzar School. Member schools provide regular opportunities for representatives of the Alzar School to speak with students and families. In return the Alzar School reserves a space or spaces for qualified students each semester. Additionally, the partnership allows for more in depth financial aid cooperation.
Why should our school become a member school?
First, the Alzar School develops leaders. Member schools provide first-class education for their students, and want to see those students tap into their leadership potential, which the Alzar School is designed to do. Member schools often share similar philosophical frameworks as the Alzar School. Secondly, by becoming a member school, your school would guarantee the unique experience of the Alzar School semester for your students. Many member schools will use this opportunity as a means of recruiting potential students. Additionally, having a unique experience like a semester at the Alzar School should have a positive effect on students' college applications. A semester away experience can help individual students refresh and rejuvenate their high school career. Our semester program is an excellent way for students to gain a new perspective and interact with new people. And lastly, because Alzar School students return to their schools and must complete our "Culminating Leadership Project (CLP)," member schools will benefit from having empowered leaders engaging in their school culture. During the completion of their CLP, your Alzar-trained students will recruit 5-6 of their peers to assist them in tackling a local community issue. These peers are likely to come from your school, resulting in a growing number of engaged citizens.